The theme of my holiday (and my first week back at work) has been generosity. Generosity not necessarily of a material nature, but of time and knowledge. People have taken the time to invite me into their homes, to spend time showing me their favourite places (blue lagoons) and activities (snorkelling, sailing and hiking). Entrepreneurs have explained their business ideas to me and shown me the inner workings of their businesses. People have shared their future career concerns with me. Experts have given me knowledge about business psychology and market research. None of them asked for payment and nor did I charge for the career counselling 😉 It is wonderful.
Which social media channel do you use? Do you know why? Have you looked into whether the channel you are using suits your business or your target demographic and their buying habits or do you “have a Facebook page because everyone has one”?
Different social media sites for everyone
Different social media channels attract different generations, genders, financials and personalities. Do you know which is which? Want to find out more?
I don’t do marketing
.. I was told recently and I can’t help feeling this is foolish but then I am a marketer and I think it is essential for any business. Even if your business is doing nicely and ticking along, that may not always be the case. Then again you might be doing some invisible marketing – customer follow ups, trade shows or emails and calls to customer. Each touch with the customer is marketing, so it is really important to make sure that the receptionist is friendly and helpful. But I digress, I still believe that any business or all businesses should review their position regularly and formulate a cohesive plan for how to market their company.
Two of my customers, reasonably sized companies turnover in the millions, have no marketing plan, nor any kind of digital strategy that I have been able to unearth. Maybe it’s because they also don’t have a marketing manager, like a lot of businesses*?
They do a bit of this with this company and so and so looks after their website. Anyways, they “pay an agency to look after our SEO” and they don’t really think they need anything else, but they are both about to launch new websites… hmm, can anyone see the fault in the logic?
Paying over the odds for the black art of SEO
Both customers, when asked what the agency is doing for them, can’t answer the question. Now whether that is because I’m not asking the right person and someone else in the organisation knows what they do, I don’t know, but I figure the person who commissions the website should have some idea, surely?
Or whether that’s because the agency do reports (I hear of a lot that don’t, unless they are asked) and the business owner doesn’t understand them – well, I see that as the fault of the agency too – they need to explain what they are doing and what ROI it is bringing back for the money spent. At least that’s my theory.
* By my figuring from the labour force survey 2011 and the business population estimate 2013
We’re in the run up to the Christmas shut-down and project planning has been done to the year end, so I have been reflecting on the work that has been completed or will be completed this year.
When I first started in the business of website design, business owners would come to me and say “I need a website. I don’t want anything fancy, just a couple of pages will do.” And that used to be enough, really. Quite often, they were the first of their industry or their geographical area to ‘go on the web’ and so their website would be found. But now, simple websites no longer cut it.
The Google effect
It is getting harder and harder to be that business who is found on Google, not necessarily first, but well enough to be profitable. It doesn’t help that the rules keep changing and they read like legalese, kind of like government legislation, so keeping up takes a lot of hard work. It’s also getting more expensive, and because it is, investment in the web has got to earn it’s keep and provide a ROI that’s worthwhile.
Clever websites earn their keep
For the last ten or so years, I have been lucky enough to work for agencies that build clever websites, websites that not only provide an attractive shop-front for prospects, but work for the business in other ways, making the business more efficient and at times forming the actual core of the business. It’s more interesting to hear the words “I want my website to work for my business, how can you help?”
An awful lot of business owners, especially small business owners who are too busy to do it themselves, delegate ‘the website’ to the nearest employee. This can be a good thing or a bad thing and depends on the competence and interest level of the person involved.
A computer savvy youngster might not have the business acumen but be more willing to learn new technology though the familiarity of using it at school or college, whereas a more mature employee might not be as up-to-speed on all things digital but might know the business better or have more experience in customer service or sales. Early adoption of the latest greatest ‘thing on the web’ isn’t necessarily the best strategic plan for a business.
I am not saying it always does – but this can lead to an underperforming website. Whether this is through lack of knowledge of the web, if the delegate can’t identify new growth opportunities it is a lost opportunity. If they can’t identify where any issues lie with the current offering, there can be fallout from lack of follow up on visitors or loss of data. It’s also the case that new information or accurate information doesn’t get uploaded to the website when it needs to be.
Consider the learning curve
There is a learning curve whenever a company decides to implement new software and that is just as much the case when a new website with an unfamiliar content management system in place behind it is launched. And don’t forget, when this employee moves on or gets promoted, someone else is going to have to pick up that workload. These things are worth considering when choosing a website provider.